Here, we demonstrate an ambient-temperature aqueous rechargeable flow battery that uses low-cost polysulfide anolytes in conjunction with lithium or sodium counter-ions, and an air- or oxygen-breathing cathode. The solution energy density, at 30–145 Wh/L depending on concentration and sulfur speciation range, exceeds current solution-based flow batteries, and the cost of active materials per stored energy is exceptionally low, ∼US$1/kWh when using sodium polysulfide. The projected storage economics parallel those for PHS and CAES but can be realized at higher energy density and with minimal locational constraints.
[cell.com] – Air-Breathing Aqueous Sulfur Flow Battery for Ultralow-Cost Long-Duration Electrical Storage
Cleantechnica.com calls for caution:
[cleantechnica.com] – Sulfur Battery Promises Less Expensive Grid Scale Storage Solution
You can take this story with a grain of salt, literally and figuratively. Researchers at MIT, responding to a challenge issued by the US Department of Energy, have developed a new battery for use by utility companies to store electricity that costs 100 times less than the conventional lithium ion batteries in use today. The new battery uses sulfur, air, water, and salt — all readily available materials that are cheap to buy. The new battery has store twice as much energy as a typical lead acid battery. Their research was published for the first time on October 11 by energy journal Joule… Under the leadership of former Energy Department head Steven Chu, the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research set a goal of reducing grid storage battery costs by a factor of five while increasing energy density also by a factor of five and all within five years… “Through an accidental laboratory discovery, we figured out that it could actually be oxygen, and therefore air. We needed to add one other component, which was a charge carrier to go back and forth between the sulfur and air electrode, and that turned out to be sodium.” The total chemical cost of their proposed battery is roughly $1 per kilowatt-hour. Since all the chemical components of the battery are dissolved in water, the researchers decided to use a flow battery architecture. In a flow battery, a system of pumps and tubes causes the components of the battery to flow past each other, generating chemical reactions that help it capture electrons… The sulfur-oxygen-salt battery under development currently has a useful life of 1500 hours — far less than the 20-year lifespan needed to attract commercial interest in the technology. The researchers have a long way to go yet, but the prospect of ultra low cost grid storage makes their quest worthwhile.
EasyJet says that electric flying could be with us in a decade and for that purpose has begun a partnership with US firm Wright Electric to build a battery-powered plane for two hours flight duration.
[theguardian.com] – EasyJet says it could be flying electric planes within a decade
[money.cnn.com] – Your airliner may be flying electric within a decade
[telegraph.co.uk] – EasyJet could be flying battery-powered electric planes within the next 10 years
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has designed a “competitor” for natural photosynthesis in plants in a setup where CO2 from the atmosphere is transformed into Ethanol (C2H5OH or CH3−CH2−OH or C2H5−OH) and Ethylene (C2H4 or H2C=CH2) using renewable electricity, with an efficiency far greater than in plants: 3-5% vs 0.2-2%.
Molecular models representing a 2D heterostructure made of graphene (gray background hexagonal lattice), and islands on top of hexagonal WS2 and MoS, as well as an alloy of the two. Water (H2O) molecules in red (oxygen) and gray (hydrogen) come from the bottom left hand side and get transformed catalytically after interacting with the heterostructures into H2 bubbles (top right hand side). Credit: Penn State Materials Research Institute.
Platinum is a near perfect catalyst for splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The only drawback is that it is very expensive. Researchers from Houston, Penn State and Florida State University claim to have found a cheaper replacement: Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2). A Swiss team already proposed this solution in 2011.
No efficiency numbers are given.
The Wiley link from 2016 mentions 12.4%
[phys.org] – Low cost, scalable water splitting fuels the future hydrogen economy
[phys.org] – Researchers report new, more efficient catalyst for water splitting
[pubs.rsc.org] – Amorphous MoS2 films as catalysts for electrochem. H2 prod. in H2O
[pubs.acs.org] – Amorphous Molybdenum Sulfides as Hydrogen Evolution Catalysts
[onlinelibrary.wiley.com] – MoS2 as a co-catalyst for photocatalytic hydrogen production from water
[wikipedia.org] – Molybdenum disulfide
[wikipedia.org] – Gibbs free energy
All wonderful these electric 5-seater “family cars”. The truth is that in a country like Holland average occupation rate is 1.25, that is a factor of 4 less than the true capacity of the standard car. Why not accept reality and concentrate on vehicles that are tailor-made for single person transport. Enter the two-wheeled Lit Motors C1 prototype from a Californian startup. Why not embrace the transportation model of private ownership of a “high-end scooter” like the Lit Motors C1 for commuting or lite shopping, combined with the occasional renting of a self-driving car for multiple persons?
Estimated base price: $24,000
Here an alternative approach to pumped hydro storage: sending a train with heavy concrete load up and down a hill. Once pushed to the hill top, energy can be won back via regenerative braking. Round trip efficiency 80%. Weight individual train: 300 ton. Planned track in a desert in Nevada will have a length of 9.2 km with an elevation of 640 m. Optimal slope: 7.2%.
[interestingengineering.com] – Concrete Gravity Trains May Solve Storage Problem
The world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer Vestas wants to add storage facilities to its wind farms, hence the new relationship with battery manufacturer Tesla. With an ever increasing installed base of wind power, with a supply of electricity that is inherently variable, storage is becoming increasingly important.
Tesla wants to expands its customer base and move beyond car batteries and home powerwalls.
Inspired by the success of offshore wind in the North Sea, prospects for offshore wind to take off in the North Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico look good.
This push may be enough to usher a multi-gigawatt surge in US offshore wind development, led by the first commercial wind farm off Block Island, Rhode Island, commissioned in December 2016. With well-capitalized and experienced offshore wind developers such as Dong Energy, Statoil and Iberdrola eager to demonstrate their 15 years of European offshore wind know-how, it is likely that positive offshore wind market forces can be sustained in the US in the upcoming years… there is a potential capacity for more than 14GW of offshore wind in sites already leased on the US outer continental shelf, which could spark investments of up to $50bn if fully developed.
[rechargenews.com] – Gulf of Mexico will benefit from coming wave of US offshore
Goldman-Sachs produced a report saying that peak-oil demand could be upon us as early as 2024, in the “extreme case”. Causes: increased vehicle efficiency, e-vehicle penetration and lower economic growth. Expected 2030 e-vehicle fleet: 86 million, up from 2 million today.
Prof Goodenough is no quitter
If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m Ninety-four?
(Free after The Beatles)
Prof. Goodenough (94) doesn’t know when to stop. And why should he? Where mere mortals usually “live up” to this label at 94, prof Goodenough still soldiers on and has announced a battery breakthrough that could defeat the lithium-ion battery, nota bene his own brainchild.
His team has developed an all-solid-state battery cell and the expectation is that this could lead to safer, faster-charging, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries with three times higher energy density per unit of volume compared to lithium-ion, to be applied in mobile gadgets, e-vehicles as well as in utility-size electricity storage.
[news.utexas.edu] – Introduction of New Technology for Fast-Charging, Noncombustible Batteries
[pubs.rsc.org] – Alternative strategy for a safe rechargeable battery
[wikipedia.org] – John B. Goodenough
[wikipedia.org] – Glass battery
US truck power train manufacturer Cummins announced yesterday the Class 7 electric truck prototype named AEOS. Parameters: 145 kWh battery and a 100 miles range for a 22 ton trailer. Recharging takes an hour. Production date is 2019.
Lithium-Ion batteries could be far more efficient, were it not that they need to be “sabotaged” on purpose, by “diluting” the cathode with graphene in order to prevent the growth of stalactite-like structures called dendrites on the cathode surface, see picture. Dendrites eventually cause the battery to fail, so this outgrowth needs to be prevented with comes at the cost of storage capacity up to a factor of 10.
Researchers at Drexel University, Tsinghua University in Beijing and Hauzhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China have developed an approach to eliminate the need for graphene by working with nanosized diamonds added to the electrolyte inside the battery. This suppresses dendrite growth at least during the first 100 charge-discharge cycles.
Commercial applications are probably several years away.
[nature.com] – Nanodiamonds suppress the growth of lithium
[drexel.edu] – Recipe for Safer Batteries — Just Add Diamonds
[cleantechnica.com] – Potential Lithium-Ion Battery Breakthrough
[newscenter.lbl.gov] – Roots of the Lithium Battery Problem… Dendrites
[phys.org] – Technique to suppress dendrite growth in lithium metal batteries
[electronicproducts.com] – ..dendrites… why do they cause fires in lithium batteries?
We reported earlier about the Stanford report, claiming that a 100% renewable energy base is possible for the US or 138 other nations.
Here is the report itself plus some interesting graphs:
In February 2015 Port of Rotterdam and Sif Group met during an exhibition in Hamburg. In June of that year the two parties signed a contract for the construction of the 500 meter long assembly- and the 120 meter long coatinghall from Sif.
October 24, 2015 the first pile of the hall and in April 2016 the first pile of the deep sea quay was driven into the ground. The construction of the halls went smooth so the first cans and cones from Roermond were delivered in September for assembly. In December, the 200 meter deep deepsea quay was finished and in January 2017 the first load-out of monopiles took place.
Thanks to the excellent cooperation between the Port of Rotterdam and Sif Group we realized a new production facility in just 14 months. Through this production expansion Sif is perfectly equipped to produce 4-5 monopiles per week with a diameter up to 11 meters.
That would be 5 x 6 MW = 30 MW per week or 1.5 GW per year or 50 GW until 2050, when Europe needs to be fossil free. Companies like Sif exist in Germany, Denmark and Spain, see below for an overview of the European (=global) offshore wind foundation industry.
Current Dutch electricity production capacity is 28,7 GW. Assuming a capacity factor of 50% of North Sea offshore wind, this current Sif production capacity would suffice to achieve electricity independence for The Netherlands in 2050. The European monopile market in 2015 was 385 and 560 in 2016. In 2018, Sif alone will be able to produce ca. 250 monopiles. It is likely however that Sif will continue to expand far beyond that number in the coming years.
[sif-group.com] – Company site [Google Maps]
[sif-group.com] – Sif projects
[energieoverheid.nl] – Nederland heeft voorlopig genoeg elektriciteit beschikbaar
[sif-group.com] – De razendsnelle realisatie van Sif op de Maasvlakte 2
[ewea.org] – The European offshore wind industry – key trends and statistics 2015
[windeurope.org] – The European offshore wind industry 2016
[tube-tradefair.com] – FA 07 Monopiles – gigantic pipes for offshore wind farms
References to the producers listed in the diagram according to production capacity:
[de.wikipedia.org] – Erndtebrücker Eisenwerk, Erndtebrück, Germany [Google Maps]
[steelwind-nordenham.de] – Steelwind Nordenham, Germany [Google Maps]
[ambau.com] – Ambau, Mellensee, Germany [Google Maps]
[bladt.dk] – Bladt Industries, Aalborg, Denmark [Google Maps]
[navantia.es] – Navantia, Ría de Ferrol, Spain [Google Maps]
Here an interview with Dr Gregor Czisch, a consultant specializing in energy supply at the firm Transnational Renewables Consulting. Dr. Czisch likes to think big. His area of expertise and passion is to design a big picture for renewable energy. On a continental scale no less. The largest hindrance of large scale implementation of renewable energy is its intermittent character: no solar energy at night or during periods of cloudy skies and rain or several days of no wind worth mentioning. The problem is not so much producing large amounts of kWh’s in a renewable fashion, the problem is to make supply meet demand. Although there is still much room for further improvement of wind and solar energy production, in essence we have reached a mature state of technology already. The bottleneck currently is storage.
To make a long story short: according to Dr. Czisch a major contribution to breaking down hurdles standing in the way of a 100% renewable energy future would be to strive for a “super grid” on o continental scale. Both in Europe and America. The greatest obstacle in realizing that aim is of a political nature, not technical.
Dr. Czisch has made mathematical models for both Europe and the United States that show that the larger the integrated area of renewable energy generation is, the lesser intermittency will be a problem.
[germaninnovation.org] – Talking about the Super Grid
[deepresource] – The Enormous Energy Potential of the North Sea
[isesco.org.ma] – Supergrids for Balancing Variable Renewables
[solarwerkstatt.org] – Vollversorgung aus erneuerbaren Energien
[de.wikipedia.org] – Gregor Czisch
[amazon.com] – Scenarios for a Future Electricity Supply: CostOptimised Variations on Supplying Europe and its Neighbours with Electricity from Renewable Energies
The traditional car companies should take care that newcomers won’t make if off with the loot. After Tesla, Google and Apple we now have Intel trying its luck with autonomous vehicles:
Mobileye, an Intel Company, will start building a fleet of fully autonomous (level 4 SAE) vehicles for testing in the United States, Israel and Europe. The first vehicles will be deployed later this year, and the fleet will eventually scale to more than 100 automobiles.
About the SAE autonomous driving level system:
[intel.com] – Intel … to Build Fleet of 100 L4 Autonomous Test Cars
[autobahn.eu] – De 5 ‘levels’ van autonoom rijden
[mercedes-benz.com] – Autonomous long distance drive
[sae.org] – Automated driving
Bill Joy, one of the main driving forces behind BSD Unix, Sun Microsystems and the vi editor has unveiled yesterday a…
solid-state alkaline battery at the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Energy Innovation Summit in Basalt, Colorado, that he says is safer and cheaper than the industry leader, lithium-ion. The appeal of alkaline: it could cost a tiny fraction of existing battery technologies and could be safer in delicate settings, such as aboard airplanes. “What people didn’t really realize is that alkaline batteries could be made rechargable,” Joy said in a phone interview Thursday.
But it is very early day…
The Ionic Materials investor envisions three ultimate applications for the polymer technology: consumer electronics, automotive and the power grid. But Joy acknowledged that the technology isn’t quite ready for prime-time. It has yet to be commercialized, and factories are needed to manufacture it. It could be ready for wider use within five years, he said.
The real innovator is a startup company Ionic Materials, in Woburn, Mass. The claimed breakthrough is that the company succeeded in making alkaline batteries rechargeable. According to spokesman Mike Zimmerman, the alkaline batteries would be heavier than the lithium ones, but that would be more than compensated with lower cost and higher energy density. Additionally there are environmental advantages in replacing cobalt with relatively abundant manganese and zinc. Zinc could eventually even be replaced by aluminium, reducing the battery weight below the lithium-based ones.
[bloomberg.com] – Tech Guru Bill Joy Unveils a Battery to Challenge Lithium-Ion
[nytimes.com] – A Better, Safer Battery Could Be Coming to a Laptop Near You
[wikipedia.org] – Alkaline battery
[wikipedia.org] – Lithium-ion battery
[livemint.com] – Tech guru Bill Joy unveils battery to challenge lithium-ion
[wikipedia.org] – Bill Joy
[wired.com] – Bill Joy, Why the future doesn’t need us
[wikipedia.org] – Why The Future Doesn’t Need Us
[source] 350-mile dedicated power line will connect a substation at the wind farm with a substation near Tulsa to deliver the wind energy to customers.
Will be the largest in the US and 2nd largest in the world. Invenergy will cooperate with General Electric on The Wind Catcher project and install 800 GE 2.5 MW turbines. Operational mid-2020. Cost: $4.5 billion, including 350 miles of dedicated, extra-high-voltage power lines.
[invenergyllc.com] – Invenergy and GE Renewable Energy Announce America’s Largest Wind Farm